Virginia must keep its Metro funding pledge
By Catherine Hudgins
and Chris Zimmerman
Virginia’s transportation secretary, Sean T. Connaughton, has informed the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission that he will not honor the state’s commitment to provide $50 million annually for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board’s safety improvements unless Northern Virginia relinquishes two of its four seats on the WMATA board [“Va. could jeopardize Metro plan,” Metro, June 18].
Until the secretary’s challenge, the commission had never been asked by any state official to replace local elected representatives on the WMATA board with political appointees from Richmond. Virginia’s investment is part of a cooperative plan to provide $300 million annually for critical infrastructure improvements. If any party backs out, the plan will fall apart.
The secretary’s claim that the commonwealth is providing more than half of Virginia’s share of the Metro budget is false. In fiscal 2011, funds from the commonwealth will account for only 28.3 percent of the combined costs of Northern Virginia’s localities and the commonwealth to support WMATA. Northern Virginia’s taxpayers and transit riders pay for WMATA through their local governments’ contributions, fares and parking fees, and the regional gas tax dedicated to WMATA. In the past decade Northern Virginia’s local funding effort totaled $2.6 billion (76 percent), while the state paid $827.5 million (24 percent).
Virginia has told the federal government that these matching funds are dedicated under state law — otherwise, Metro would not be eligible for the new federal funding. The state should not break the promise made to its residents and regional partners.
The writers are members of the WMATA board of directors.
| June 22, 2010; 8:20 PM ET
Categories: HotTopic, Metro, Virginia, transportation
Save & Share: Previous: Richmond's rail dilemma
Next: Is The Post too negative on Metro?
Posted by: Falmouth1 | June 23, 2010 6:39 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: kgrupy | June 23, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: markeverline | June 23, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jrmil | June 23, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jckdoors | June 23, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: matt15 | June 23, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.